CHAPTER 31--MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS JULY-AUGUST 1856. AET. 24

A BRIEF absence was all that Hudson Taylor anticipated when he parted from Mr. Burns in Swatow. He was badly needing change while the hot season lasted, and this journey to fetch his medicines fitted in very well with the plans they had in view. What was his surprise and distress, therefore, to learn upon reaching Shanghai that the premises of the London Mission had been visited by fire and that his medical outfit left there for safety was entirely destroyed.

What could it mean ? Why had it been permitted ? Never had he needed these belongings more. Everything in Swatow seemed to depend upon the medical work they were now in a position to undertake-and Mr. Bums was alone waiting for him.

But what was the use of returning without medicines ? And where was a new supply to come from, or the means to obtain them ? Purchase in Shanghai he could not, on account of the extravagantly high prices of imported articles, and six or eight months might be required before they would reach him from home. It was a difficult position, and the young missionary, as he tells us, was more disposed to say with Jacob, " All these things are against me," than to recognise with cheerful faith that " All things work together for good to them that love God."

" I had not then learned," he records, " to think of God as the One Great Circumstance in whom we live and move and have our being, and of all lesser circumstances as necessarily the kindest, wisest, best,because either ordered or permitted by Him. Hence my disappointment and, trial were very great."

The only thing was to write and tell Mr. Burns what had happened, and to put off his return until he could go to Ning-po and see what Dr. Parker could do to help them. If he could spare a small supply of medicines to go on with, they might still be able to begin work as soon as the great heat was over. So in the hope of retrieving his losses, Hudson Taylor set out for the neighbouring city.

And then a whole set of new difficulties began. Three or four days under ordinary circumstances would have taken him to Dr. Parker, but on this occasion he found himself three weeks after he first started no nearer his destination than at the beginning. True he had made the trip as much of an evangelistic journey as possible, preaching and distributing literature along the first part of the way. But this was not the reason of his ending up where he began, penniless and destitute, without having reached Ning-po at all or communicated with Dr. Parker.

" It is interesting to notice," he wrote long after, " the various events which united in the providence of God in preventing my return to Swatow and ultimately led to my settling in Ning-po and making that the centre for the development of future labours."

But during this trying summer and the many unsettled months that followed, the young missionary was sorely perplexed to understand the way divine providence was taking in the ordering of his affairs. Life turns at times on a small pivot, and in looking back one is startled to realise the importance of what seemed a very little thing.

How could Hudson Taylor have imagined, for example, that the robbery that left him in such distress upon this journey was to result in the deliverance of the entire Mission he was yet to found, during a period of financial danger ? How could he suppose that the upset of all his plans and the severance of a partnership in service more precious than any he had ever known was to prove the crowning blessing of his life on the human side, bringing him into association and at last union with the one of all others most suited both to him and his work ?

But so it is God leads. His hand is on the helm. We are being guided, even when we feel it least. The closed door is as much His Providence as the open, and equally for our good and the accomplishment of His own great ends. And one learns at last that it is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessing so much as what He is doing through us, when we least expect it, if only we are in abiding fellowship with Him.

" There was no water beyond Shih-mun-wan," he wrote in relating the latter part of this journey, 1-{1-1 Up to this point Mr. Taylor had distributed with his usual care as many as Zoo copies of the New Testament and 3000 other books and tracts. He had been two weeks upon his way (July 22-August 4) and was able to write : " Never since I have been in China have I had such opportunities for preaching the Gospel."The account that follows of the rest of the journey is taken from letters to his mother and to the Secretary of the C.E.S., published in part in The Gleaner for December 1856.} " so I paid off my boat, hired coolies to carry my things as far as Ch'ang-an, and before sunrise we were on the way. I walked on ahead leaving my servant to follow with the men, who made frequent stoppages to rest, and on reaching the city of Shih-men I waited for them in a tea-shop outside the North Gate. The coolies came on very slowly and seemed weary when they arrived. I soon found that they were opium-smokers, so that although they had only carried between them a load that a strong man would think nothing of taking three times the distance they were really tired.

"After rice, tea and an hour's rest, including, I doubt not, a smoke of the opium-pipe, they were a little refreshed, and I proposed moving on that we might get on to Ch`ang-an before the sun became too powerful. My servant, however, had a friend in the city and proposed that we should spend the day there and go on the following morning. To this of course I objected, wishing to reach Hai-ning (the point of embarkation for Ning-po) that night if possible. . . . We therefore set off, entered the North Gate, and had passed through about a third of the city when the coolies stopped to rest saying they would be unable to carry the burden on to Ch'ang-an. Finally they agreed to take it to the South Gate, where they were to be paid in proportion to the distance they had travelled, and my servant undertook to call other coolies and come along with them.

" I walked on before as in the first instance, and the distance being only about four miles soon reached Ch'ang-an and waited their arrival,meanwhile engaging coolies for the rest of the journey to Hai-ning. Having waited a long time I began to wonder at the delay, and at length it became too late to finish the journey to Hai-ning that night. I felt somewhat annoyed, and but that my feet were blistered and the afternoon very hot I should have gone back to meet them and urge them on. At last I concluded that my servant must have gone to his friend, and would not appear until evening. But evening came, and still there was no sign of them.

" Feeling very uneasy, I began diligently to inquire whether they had been seen.

"` Are you a guest from Shih-mun-wan,' a man at last responded. " I answered in the affirmative.

" ` Are you going to Hai-ning ? '

" `That is my destination.'

" Then your things have gone on before you. For I was sitting in a tea-shop when a coolie came in, took a cup of tea, and set off for Hai-ning in a great hurry, saying that the bamboo box and bed he carried, just such as you describe yours to have been, were from Shih-mun and he had to take them to Hai-ning to-night, where he was to be paid at the rate of ten cash a pound.'

" From this I concluded that my goods were on before me ; but it was impossible to follow them at once, for I was too tired to walk and it was already dark.

" Under these circumstances all I could do was to seek a lodging for the night, and no easy task I found it. After raising my heart to God to ask His aid, I walked through to the farther end of the town, where I thought the tidings of a foreigner's being in the place might not have spread, and looked out for an inn. I soon came to one and went in, hoping that I might pass unquestioned. , , . Asking the bill of fare, I was told that cold rice-which proved to be more than `rather burnt'-and snakes fried in lamp-oil were all that could be had. Not wishing any question to be raised as to my nationality, I ordered some and tried to make a meal, but with little success.

" While thus engaged I remarked to the landlord,

" ` I suppose I can arrange to spend the night here ? '

To which he replied in the affirmative. But bringing out his book, he added

" ` In these unsettled times we are required by the authorities to keep a record of our lodgers. May I ask your respected family name ? '

" My unworthy name is Tai,' I responded;

"And your honourable second name ?"

"My humble name is Ia-koh' (James)."

"What an extraordinary name ! I never heard it before. How do you write it ?"

" I told him, and added,' It is quite common in the district from which I come."

" ` And may I ask whence you come and whither you are going ? ' "`I am journeying from Shanghai to Ning-po, by way of Hangchow.'

"What may be your honourable profession ?'

"I heal the sick."

" ` Oh ! you are a physician,' the landlord remarked, and to my intense relief closed the book. His wife, however, took up the conversation.

" ` You are a physician, are you ? I am glad of that ; for I have a daughter afflicted with leprosy, and if you will cure her you shall have your supper and bed for nothing.'

" I was curious enough to inquire what my supper and bed were to cost if paid for, and to my amusement found they were worth less than three-halfpence of our money.

" Being unable. to benefit the girl I declined to prescribe for her, saying that leprosy was a very intractable disease and that I had no medicines with me.

" But the mother brought pen and paper, urging, ' You can at least write a prescription, which will do no harm if it does no good.'

" This I also declined to do, and requested to be shown my bed. I was conducted to a very miserable room on the ground-floor where on some boards raised upon two stools I passed the night, without bed or pillow save my umbrella and shoe and without any mosquito netting.. Ten or eleven other lodgers were sleeping in the same room, so I could not take anything off for fear of its being stolen. But I was by no means too warm as midnight came on."

TUESDAY, August 5.

Early in the morning I rose, cold, weary and footsore, and I had to wait a long time ere there were any signs of breakfast. After this there was another delay before I could get change for the only dollar I had with me, in consequence of its being chipped in one or two places. More than three hundred cash also were deducted from its price on this account, which was a serious loss in my position.

I then sought throughout the town for tidings of my servant and coolies, as I thought it possible that they might have arrived later or have come on in the morning. The town is large, long and straggling, being nearly two miles from one end to the other, so this occupied some time.. I gained no information, however, and footsore and weary set out for Hai-ning in the full heat of the day. The journey (about eight miles) took me a long time, but a half-way village afforded a resting-place and a cup of tea, of which I gladly availed myself, When about to leave again a heavy shower of rain came on, and the delay thus occasioned enabled me to speak a little to the people about the truths of the Gospel.

The afternoon was far spent before I approached the northern suburb of Hai-ning where I commenced inquiries, but nothing could I learn of my servant or belongings. I was told that outside the East Gate I should be more likely to hear of them, as it was there the sea-junks called. I therefore proceeded thither, and sought for them outside the Little East Gate, but in vain. Very weary I sat down in a tea-shop to rest, and while there a number of persons from one of the Mandarin's offices came in and made inquiries as to who I was, where I had come from, etc. On learning the object of my search one of the men in the tea-shop said,

" A bamboo box and a bed, such as you describe, were carried past here about half an hour ago. The bearer seemed to be going toward either the Great East Gate or the South Gate. You had better go to the hongs there (business houses) and inquire." 1

I asked him to accompany me in my search, promising to reward him for his trouble, but he would not. Another man offered to go, however, and we set off, and both inside and outside the two gates made diligent inquiries, but in vain. I then engaged a man to make a thorough search, promising him a liberal reward if he should be successful. In the meantime I had something to eat and addressed a large concourse of people who had assembled.

When my messenger returned, having met with no success, I said to him

"I am now quite exhausted. Will you help me find quarters for the night, and then I will pay you for your trouble ? "

He was willing to befriend me, and we set off in search of lodgings.. At the first place or two the people would not receive me, for though on our going in they were ready to do so, the presence of a man who followed us, and who I found was engaged in one of the Government offices, seemed to alarm them, and I was refused. We now went to a third place, and being no longer followed by the Mandarin's messenger we were promised quarters. Tea was brought and I paid the man who had accompanied me for his trouble.

Soon after he had left some official people came in. They did not stay long, but the result of their visit was that I was told I could not be entertained there that night. A young man present blamed them for their heartless behaviour and said

" Never mind : come with me, and if we cannot get better lodgings you shall sleep at our house."

I went with him, but we found the people of his house unwilling to receive me. Weary and footsore so that I could scarcely stand, I had again to seek quarters, and at length got a promise of somebut a little crowd collecting about the door they desired me to go to a tea-shop and wait till the people had retired, or they would be unable to accommodate me. There was no help for it, so I went accompanied still by the young man and waited till past midnight. Then we left for the promised resting-place, but my conductor could not find it. He led me about to quite another part of the city, and finally between one and two o'clock he left me to pass the rest of the night as best I could.

I was opposite a temple but it was closed ; so I lay down on the stone steps in front of it, and putting my money under my head for a pillow should soon have been asleep, in spite of the cold, had I not perceived a person coming stealthily towards me. As he approached I saw he was one of the beggars so common in China, and had no doubt his intention was to rob me of my money. I did not stir, but watched his movements, and looked to my Father not to leave me in this hour of trial. The man came up, looked at me for some time to assure himself that I was asleep (it was so dark that he could not see my eyes fixed on him), and then began to feel about me gently. I said to him in the quietest tone, but so as to convince him that I was not nor had been sleeping,

" What do you want ? " He made no answer, but went away.

I was thankful to see him go, and when he was out of sight put as much of my cash as would not go into my pocket safely up my sleeve, and made my pillow of a stone projection of the wall. It was not long ere I began to dose, but I was aroused by the all but noiseless footsteps of two persons approaching ; for my nervous system was rendered so sensitive by exhaustion that the slightest sound startled me. Again I sought protection from Him who alone was my stay, and lay still as before, till one of them came up and began to feel under my head for the cash. I spoke again, and they sat down at my feet. I asked them what they were doing. They replied that, like me, they were going to pass the night outside the temple. I then requested them to take the opposite side as there was plenty of room, and leave this side to me. But they would not move from my feet. So I raised myself up and set my back against the wall.

" You had better lie down and sleep," said one of them, " otherwise you will be unable to work to-morrow. Do not be afraid ; we shall not leave you, and will see that no one does you harm."

" Listen to me," I replied. " I do not want your protection. I do not need it. I am not a Chinese, and I do not worship your vain idols. I worship God. He is my Father, and I trust in Him. I know well what you are and what are your intentions, and shall keep my eye on you and not sleep."

Upon this one of them went away, only to return with a third companion. I felt very uneasy but looked to God for help. Once or twice one of them came over to see if I was asleep.

" Do not be mistaken," I said, " I am not sleeping."

Occasionally my head dropped and this was a signal for one of them to rise. But I at once roused myself and made some remark.. As the night slowly wore on, I felt very weary, and to keep myself awake as well as to cheer my mind I sang several hymns, repeated aloud some portions of Scripture, and engaged in prayer . . , to the annoyance of my companions, who seemed as if they would have given anything to get me to desist. After that they troubled me no more, and when shortly before dawn of day they left me I got a little sleep.

WEDNESDAY, August 6.

It was still quite early when I was awakened by the young man who had so misled me on the previous evening. He was very rude and insisted on my getting up and paying him for his trouble, even going so far as to try to accomplish by force what he wanted. This roused me, and in an unguarded moment, with very improper feeling, I seized his arm with a grasp he little expected and dared him to lay a finger on me again or to annoy me further, This quite changed his manner. He let me quietly remain till the guns announced the opening of the gates of the city, and then begged me to give him something to buy opium with. Needless to say this was refused. I gave him the price of two candles that he said he had burnt while with me last night, and no more. I afterwards learned he was connected with one of the Mandarin's offices.

As soon as possible I bought some rice gruel and tea for breakfast, and then once more made a personal search for my things. Some hours thus spent proving unavailing I set out on the return journey, and after a long, weary and painful walk reached Ch' ang-an about noon. Here also my inquiries failed to bring any trace of the missing goods ; so I had a meal cooked in a tea-shop, got a thorough wash and bathed my inflamed feet, and after dinner rested and slept until four in the afternoon. I

Much refreshed I then set off to return to the city at the South Gate of which I had parted with my servant and coolies two days before.. On the way I was led to reflect on the goodness of God, and recollected that I had not made it a matter of prayer that I might be provided with lodgings last night. I felt condemned too that I should have been so anxious for my few things, while the many precious souls around me had caused so little concern. I came as a sinner and pleaded the blood of Jesus, realising that I was accepted in Him-pardoned cleansed, sanctified-and oh the love of Jesus, how great I felt it to be ! I knew something more than I had ever known of what it was to be despised and rejected and have nowhere to lay one's head, and felt more than ever I had before the greatness of the love that induced Him to leave His home in glory and suffer thus for me-nay, to lay down His very life upon the Cross. I thought of Him as " despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." I thought of Him at Jacob's well, weary, hungry and thirsty, yet finding it His meat and drink to do His Father's will, and contrasted this with my littleness of love. I looked to Him for pardon for the past and for grace and strength to do His will in the future, to tread more closely in His footsteps and to be more than ever wholly His. I prayed for myself, for friends in England and for my brethren in the work. Sweet tears of mingled joy and sorrow flowed freely ; the road was almost forgotten ; and before I was aware I had reached my destination. Outside the South Gate I took a cup of tea, asked about my lost luggage and spoke of the love of Jesus. Then I entered the city, and after many vain inquiries left it by the North Gate..

I felt so much refreshed both in mind and body by the communion I had on my walk to the city that I thought myself able to finish the remaining six miles back to Shih-mun-wan that evening.. First I went into another tea-shop to buy some native cakes, and was making a meal of them when who should come in but one of the identical coolies who had carried my things the first stage. From him I learned that after I left them they had taken my luggage to the South Gate. There my servant went away, saying on his return that I had gone on, that he did not intend to start at once, but would spend the day with his friend and then rejoin me. They carried the things to the friend's house and left them there. I got him to go with me to the house, and there learned that my servant had spent the day and night with them and next morning had set off for Hang-chow. This was all I could gather, so unable to do anything but proceed on my return journey to Shanghai with all expedition, I left the city. It was now too late to go on to Shih-mun-wan. I looked to my Father as able to supply all my need, and received another token of His ceaseless love and care -being invited to sleep on a hong-boat, now dry in the bed of the river,

THURSDAY, August 7.

The night was again very cold and the mosquitoes troublesome. Still I got a little rest, and at sunrise was up and able to continue my journey. I felt very ill at first and had a sore throat, but reflected on the wonderful goodness of God in enabling me to bear the heat by day and the cold by night for so long, I felt also quite a load taken off my mind. I had committed myself and my affairs to the Lord, and knew that if it was for my good and for His glory my things would be restored. If not, all would be for the best, I hoped that the most trying part of my journey was now drawing to a close, and this helped me, footsore and weary, on the way.

When I got to Shih-mun-wan and had breakfasted, I found I had still eight hundred and ten cash in hand. I knew that the fare by passenger-boat to Ka-shing was one hundred and twenty cash, and thence to Shanghai three hundred and sixty, which would leave me just three hundred and thirty cash (twelve pence and a fraction) for three or four days' provisions. I went at once to the boat-office, but to my dismay found that goods had been delayed owing to the dry state of the river, and that no boat would leave to-day and perhaps none to-morrow. I inquired if there were no letter-boats for Ka-shing, and was told that they had already left. The only remaining resource was to ascertain if any private boats were going in which I could obtain a passage. My search, however, was in vain ; and I could get no boat to take me all the way to Shanghai, or my difficulty would have been at an end.

Just at this juncture I saw before me, at a turn in the canal, a letterboat going in the direction of Ka-shing. This I concluded must be one of the Ka-shing boats that had been detained, and I set off after it as fast as hope and the necessities of the case would carry me. For the time being weariness and sore feet were alike forgotten, and after a chase of about a mile I overtook it.

" Are you going to Ka-shing Fu ? " I called out. " No," was the only answer.

" Are you going in that direction ? " " No."

" Will you give me a passage as far as you do go that way ? " Still " No," and nothing further.

Completely discouraged and exhausted, I sank down on the grass and fainted away.

As consciousness returned some voices reached my ear, and I found they were talking about me.

" He speaks pure Shanghai dialect," said one and from their own speech I knew them to be Shanghai people.

Raising myself I saw that they were on a large hong-boat on the other side of the canal, and after a few words they sent their small boat to fetch me and I went on board the junk. They were very kind and gave me tea, and when I was refreshed and able to partake of it some food also. I then took off my shoes and stockings to ease my feet, and the boatman kindly provided hot water with which to bathe them. When they heard my story and saw the blisters on my feet they evidently pitied me, and hailed every boat that passed to see if it was going my way. Not finding one, after a few hours sleep I went ashore with the captain intending to preach in the temple of the God of War.

Before leaving the junk I told the captain and those on board that I was now unable to help myself ; that I had not strength to walk to Ka-shing Fu, and having been disappointed in getting a passage to-day I should no longer have sufficient means to take me there by letterboat, an expensive mode of travelling ; that I knew not how God would help me, but that I had no doubt He would do so, and that my business now was to serve Him where I was. I also told them that the help which I knew would come ought to be an evidence to them of the ,truth of the religion which I and the other missionaries in Shanghai preached.

On our way to the town, engaged in conversation with the captain, we saw a letter-boat coming up. The captain drew my attention to it, but I reminded him that I had no longer money enough to pay for my passage. He hailed it nevertheless, and found that they were going to a place about nine miles from Shanghai, whence one of the boatmen would carry the mails overland to the city.

" This gentleman is a foreigner from Shanghai," he then said, " who has been robbed and has no longer the means of returning. If you will take him with you as far as you go, and then engage a sedan-chair to carry him the rest of the way, he will pay you in Shanghai. You see my boat is now lying aground for want of water and cannot get away. I will stand surety, and if this gentleman does not pay you when you get to Shanghai I will do so on your return."

Those on the letter-boat agreeing to the terms, I bade farewell to my kind friend and was taken on board as a passenger. As I lay down in the bottom of the boat how soft the planks felt, and how thankful I was to be on the way to Shanghai once more !

Long and narrow in build, these letter-boats are very limited as to their inside accommodation, and one has to lie down all the while they are in motion, as a slight movement might upset them. This was no inconvenience to me, however. On the contrary, I was only too glad to be quiet. They are the quickest boats I have seen in China. Each one is worked by two men who relieve one another continuously day and night. They row with their feet and paddle with their hands, or if the wind is quite favourable, row with their feet and with one hand manage a small sail, while steering with the other.

The ninety li 1-{ 1- Thirty miles, a good day's journey by ordinary houseboat.}to Ka-shing Fu were soon passed, and shortly after dark we again left the city-letters having been received and delivered by one of the men, while the other prepared our evening meal.

FRIDAY, August 8.

Morning found us at Ka-shan, and while letters were being attended to I went on shore, had my head shaved, and addressed the people who assembled. We then Breakfasted and got off. In the afternoon we reached Sung-kiang, and here again I had a good time preaching in an unfrequented quarter.

SATURDAY, August 9, 1856.

About 8 A.M. reached Shanghai and the hospitable- abode of Mr. Wylie of the London Mission, completing a journey full of mercies though not unmixed with trial. Never since I have been in China have I had such opportunities for preaching the Gospel, and though the termination was far from what I desired it has been greatly blessed to me, and I trust the Word preached and distributed may bear fruit to the glory of God.

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